What are sales funnels and how can they benefit your business? | The Planner
After a successful career at one of South Africa’s largest convention centres, Scott Langley decided to launch his own marketing consultancy that specialises in developing online sales funnels. He shares his insights.

Scott Langley is a name many within the MICE industry are familiar with.

Based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal but originally from Pretoria, Scott obtained his BCom Degree from the University of Pretoria where he specialised in tourism and business management and marketing. He has worked for travel agencies, guesthouses, destination marketing groups, hotels and an international convention centre.

“I have had the privilege of living and working in different parts of South Africa, accumulating over 20 years’ sales and marketing experience within the tourism industry. I have lived and worked in Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and even Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape,” Scott tells us.

Most recently, he started his own marketing consultancy, Kaizen Alpha, where he helps people with their marketing strategy and grow their companies using online sales funnels.

“I have been fascinated with online marketing for a number of years now and had been looking for the ideal business model to choose so that I could start something of my own. I have a passion for teaching, and I love helping people get better sales and marketing results. Honestly, I’m quite a geek, and I love the technical side of the business as well,” says Scott.

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Scott’s motivation to start his own business was inspired by a quote from Warren Buffett, who said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

“I knew I needed to make the break and stop trading my time for money. I knew it was time to start a marketing consultancy of my own, which could bring together my love for teaching and strategy, and also provide an innovative, new way of getting real results for my clients via online sales funnels,” explains Scott.

For those not in the know, sales funnels are used to leverage new sales or extend profits on the back of already-existing successful products or services. These can range in their diversity but key in this model is that it doesn’t seek to completely reinvent the wheel and takes nothing away from the original product or service.

One of the most attractive drawcards of growing a successful online sales funnel, says Scott, is that it has the potential to give you the ability to put your business on auto-pilot.

“Having a good sales funnel is like taking your best salesperson who converts like crazy, and getting them to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, serving multiple clients simultaneously without ever complaining or asking for a raise,” Scott enthuses.

According to Scott, a sales funnel should be well-targeted at your dream customer. It must have a compelling story that takes your customer on a journey, and have a compelling offer that is loaded with value, preferably something that only you can give them.

“You should make it super-easy for your customer to open their wallet and give you their money, again and again,” he says.

“I can tell you that the experience of waking up in the morning, and seeing all the notifications on your phone of the sales that happened, and the money that hit your bank account, while you were sleeping – that never gets old!”

What does it take?

While it sounds like an ideal solution, a lot of work is required upfront in creating sales funnels that convert the way they should.

“Once the funnel is built correctly, you get to enjoy getting paid over and over again for that same work,” Scott highlights, adding that this is “new territory” for South Africa.

“Although sales funnels have been around for a long time in the US and Europe, this is a brand-new opportunity for South Africa at the moment. This means that if you are targeting South African clientele predominantly, you need to focus on the early adopters. This can either work in your favour, and you can be the first in your industry to capitalize on this innovative, new way of reaching your competitor’s customers, or you could struggle, if you are aiming to attract customers who are reluctant to transact online, or your market is slow to change or try new things. It pays to consider what niche you want to service and who your ideal customer is,” he elaborates.

Incorporating sales funnels

Funnels can work well for both online products or ‘brick and mortar’ businesses. If a businessowner needs more leads or more sales, then a sales funnel should be considered to help grow their business.

“Some funnels are really simple and quick to set up, like lead funnels. Others can be quite detailed and offer multiple products or member areas. Others can offer online experiences like webinars, online events or a 30-day Challenge, for example – complete with registration, payment gateway and auto-responder email sequences built-in. It all depends on your business and how much of your sales process you want to automate,” notes Scott.

Preferring to see the glass half full, Scott offers a word of advice for businessowners: “We all know the economy is tough right now, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made it even more challenging for many people. We can either see the opportunities in these developments, or be crushed by them in time,” he concludes.

Stop trading your time for money and delve into Scott’s online sales funnel toolkit

If your business doesn’t have the ability to market online to your customers and transact financially with them online 24/7, I would seriously question how secure your business will be in the next three to five years.

If you are interested in finding out how to automate your processes and convert sales online, then there has never been a better time to look at how sales funnels can achieve this.

There are three essential tools and possibly a fourth, depending on your marketing strategy:

1. A robust and easy to use online platform: This is just a fancy way of saying the website that the sales funnel is written on should be able to handle the number of visitors that come to it each month, and that it should be easy to make tweaks to it whenever you want.

2. A secure payment gateway: This is non-negotiable. You cannot afford to take any chances when dealing with people’s money. Your funnels need to have the highest level of SSL encryption to ensure 100% security of the transaction and the privacy of your customers’ financial data.

3. Integrated email software: Communication is key, and you want this built into your funnel so that everything is automated. For example, you want your funnel to send your customers their confirmation email, thanking them for their purchases as soon as possible. You don’t want to send those yourself every time, right? And, you want to receive an email every time you get a sale, detailing who bought what, from where, for how much, etc. You want your funnel to add them to an email list so that you can market to them in the future.  

4. (Optional) An integrated webinar tool: Depending if you are going to be using webinars or live videos to market and sell your products, you want an integrated webinar tool like Zoom or GoToWebinar built into your funnel so that the process is smooth and seamless for your customer.

Businessowners who are interested in receiving more information on how a sales funnel can help grow their businesses, can visit www.KaizenAlpha.com, or get in touch with Scott on scott@KaizenAlpha.com or +27 (0)82 805 8794 to set up a strategy consultation.

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